HC dismissed writ challenging constitutional levy of late fee under GST

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The petitioners, who were two advocates, filed a writ petition, in the nature of public interest, challenging the constitutional validity of section 47 of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 as being ultra vires the constitution.

The High Court of Gujarat vide R/WRIT PETITION (PIL) NO. 161 OF 2018 in the case of Raj Sanjaybhai Tanna vs. Union of India dated August 30, 2018 stated that this is not a case where PIL jurisdiction should be exercised. By the account of the petitioners, there are not less than 1.30 crore dealers affected by the said provision. There is nothing to suggest that none of these affected persons can take up the cause and approach the Court of law as may be advised. Majority if not all of them would be persons with proper means who can also avail proper legal advice. This is not a case where the petitioners are espousing the cause of a weaker section of the society who, on account of hardships and handicaps inherently faced by them, are unable to knock the door of justice.

Thus, in the present petition, the petitioners, who are themselves active tax consultants and tax practitioners, have challenged the vires of section 47 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act. They are obviously indirectly concerned with the same. They pointed out that there are millions of dealers who would be adversely affected by the provisions made therein. There is no reason why such an issue should be examined in a public interest petition when the group of persons whom the statute affects do not suffer from any handicap preventing them from taking up the litigation themselves and pursuing it.

Citation: [2018] 97 taxmann.com 629 (Gujarat)